Mick Yates was born in Blackpool and currently lives in Appleby-in-Westmorland. He holds a First Class B.A Honours in English and Creative Writing from the University of Cumbria and is also a qualified teacher.


He has worked as a visiting lecturer at Birmingham University, the University of Wolverhampton and Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education.


He has also worked in theatre and television and his poetry has been published in many magazines and journals. Most recently he was a carer for his parents and other relatives. This debut collection was a winner of The Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize 2014.



Mick Yates




ISBN 978-1-909357-80-8


Indigo Dreams Publishing




138 x 216mm


52 pages


£7.99 + P&P UK


PUB: June 2015













it is not a place

to linger long

for those

of a superstitious disposition

not many resting here

made old bones



every gravestone faces east

in sullen uniformity

caught forever in the smirk

of the pennines

yet each stone

reveals its own peculiar history

given time



if you stop awhile

to decipher

what little is left in writing

of their lives

you may understand

why the rooks still roost

in the circling trees





my father’s car



i have heard

the engine falter

more than once

my dear ageing father

i have seen

tell-tale scratches

on the bodywork

and i have said


it is too

old and unreliable

a vehicle

to depend on


it takes longer

to wake up

in the morning

and the day

will come when

it will not stutter

into life again

it has also

informed me recently

in the strictest confidence

that it does not want

to be driven by you

any longer

i believe you

should respect

its wishes

my dear ageing father

dead beat



hey allen ginsberg

you were the man

succubus sinner & holy bum

solitary seer & cosmic mouthpiece

for generations to come

hey allen ginsberg

i salute you

i salute your flaws

your ferocious fidelity

fearless champion

of the mad & mystic masses

i salute your generosity

your karmic contradictions

your celestial contrariness

but mostly i salute

your verse busting times

your cool beat hip hop

jazz demonic mantra lines

& your wild doped out friends

that had the establishment

on the run for a while

hey allen ginsberg

you were the man





magic bus



you travelled so far

on that magic bus

and your names are manifold

ginsberg kerouac & cassidy

kesey & garcia

& all the other merry pranksters

who took the unwilling world

on another journey off the highway

towards the stars

and old timothy leary?

why i bet he’s still organising

another timetable as we speak

out there in space

endlessly orbiting this earth

in his metal sarcophagus

checking on the karma down here

and how the others who survived

the acid test are faring without a driver

well i am pleased to report

that my feet are still well on the bus

and have been since the summer of love

hey & dig this

now i am 63

the straights have given me

a senior citizen pass

that allows me unlimited travel

on the bus at certain times

now aint that cool?







as a child she played the game

building words from cards


when she was older

her first tattoo spelt ed


short for edward


the name of her first lover

a teddy boy and a biker

their love would last forever

or so it seemed at sixteen



he lost his norton on a bend


with ed now dead

she moved on to fred

and a new tattoo


little attention was required

a couple of extra letters

hey presto

her new lover


it was a sort of life with fred

he left years later

when he found her in bed

with a lesbian colleague freda


strange the hieroglyphics of love









you see things differently

from others

as an archaeologist

you are trained to observe

you regard a rubble of stone

and liberate the space

where a door once stood

or windows where the light shone through

illuminating the home

of those who once lived there


your vision dissects the past

in your presence

the trunks of trees

are reborn as people

and wood becomes

living flesh again

they shake their arms today

as branches in the wind

poking the air with fingers

now arthritic twigs of beech


perhaps the former inhabitants

were having an argument?

perhaps they could envisage

the slow decline?

were they happy once

before someone walled them in forever

and the pile of stones

that was their hearth

burned with fire no more?







consider this ancient fuel

ten thousand years in the making

the history of this land lies encoded

here within its black secret heart


the deeper you dig

the darker the turf


the more compressed it lies

beneath the weight of the past

under a landscape blanket

of greens browns and purples


these days they no longer

excavate the peat with a slane        


or place the sods on a bank

to dry until a skin forms over them


now machines peel away the turf


white and yellow plastic bags

replace the hand built sod piles


as the packaged blocks of time


await their final collection








‘What I loved were the stories they told and the clear, shining images they put into my eyes. I could feel the sun, taste the dust, hear the voices, see the colours. I loved the language, so beautiful and precise.’

Annette Snowdon








Mick's photo amend

artefacts is a witty, intelligent and accessible collection of poetry that explores a wide range of themes, from boy racers in Roman times to the heroes of the Beat Generation, and from cowboys and tightrope walkers in Birmingham to the sexual life of the Praying Mantis before moving on  to consider  the more familiar landscapes of modern life. Written in a spare minimalist style these are poems that will stimulate the senses, the emotions and the intellect of the reader.

artefacts web